Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Final Score: St. Louis Cardinals 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 1
Michael Wacha Might Be the Best Rookie Pitcher in St. Louis
While fellow phenom Shelby Miller had the better regular season, Michael Wacha may have shown just why he's the best rookie pitcher the Cardinals have.
Wacha had a no-hitter going through 7.1 innings on Monday, marking the second time he's come within five outs of a no-no in two weeks. He lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth on an infield single by Ryan Zimmerman on Sept. 24 against the Washington Nationals, and he came close again today.
While Miller was the one getting all the press this season, Wacha actually posted a better ERA and was much better against decent competition.
Against teams with a record of .500 or better this year, Miller's ERA ballooned to a hair under 5.00. Wacha, on the other hand, was asked to start in the postseason, while Miller was not.
Miller is still a great pitcher, but Wacha may have shown why he's the young arm to watch for the Cardinals.
Runs Will Be at a Premium in Game 5
This one ranked neck-and-neck with Game 2 of the Tigers-A's series as the worst offensive showing of any MLB postseason game this year.
The Cards and Pirates combined for just four hits all game, and all three runs came on home runs. The two teams were shut down by the opposing pitching staffs, and it's going to be interesting to see how the offenses respond in the decisive Game 5.
If Game 5 goes anything like Game 4, every run will count.
Matt Holliday Is Back
Entering the game in the midst of an 0-for-8 slump, Matt Holliday broke out in a big way on Monday.
The Cardinals struggled to get anything going offensively, totaling just three hits. However, two of them were Holliday's, including a monster two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Holliday is one of the team's best hitters, and if he gets hot behind Carlos Beltran, St. Louis is going to be very dangerous this postseason.
What is Wrong With Pittsburgh's Offense?
One hit, two walks. That was all the Pirates could mount against rookie Michael Wacha in this game.
Pittsburgh has a fantastic pitching staff, but the team needs its offense to step up if it's going anywhere in the postseason.
The Buccos will likely need at least five runs if they are to win Game 5, and scoring against Adam Wainwright is going to be even harder than scoring against Wacha.
What This Means
The Cardinals have forced a Game 5, bringing the series back to St. Louis.
This win is huge for the Cardinals, as they now will play for a trip to the NLCS at home with Adam Wainwright on the mound. St. Louis has to be considered the favorite in Game 5.
Clint Hurdle and the Pirates will turn to rookie Gerrit Cole, per the team's official Twitter feed. Cole baffled the Cardinals hitters in a Game 2 win.
The Cardinals have to feel lucky after winning a game in which they only recorded three hits, and it's going to be interesting to see if they capitalize on it in Game 5.